Note on Chronological Order of Repertory
The Group Dances and the Occupational Dances are older than any of the Praise Name Dances. Takai is the oldest; it deals with the formation of the kingdom. Tora is next; its featured characters are considered so ancient that no one dances to their appellations these days. Butchers entered Dagbon before the blacksmiths were brought within the social order of Dagbon; Nakohi-waa is older than Dikala. Alhaji puts little value in trying to situate Baamaaya within the chronology of chiefs and the formation of the social institutions of Dagbon; he does not proactively link it to the epic narrative of the nation. The origin of the Damba Festival also is not associated with any particular chief. Since it likely began after Naa Zangina accepted Islam, the festival should be regarded as coming after Tora. Summarizing:
Group Dances Takai, Tora, Baamaaya
Occupational Dances Nakohi-waa, Dikala
Festival Dances Damba Suite
The first chief in the historical chronology is Naa Zangina, who does not have an appellation for dancing. The Diari-lan’ Bukali (Suligu) was a warrior in the army of Naa Sigli in his war with the Gonja champion, Kumpatiya. Naa Sigli was one of the paramount chiefs after Naa Zangina. Tugu-lan’ Yemusa (Dogu) was the regent of Naa Sigli, which places him after Diari-lan’ Bukari, that is, Suligu is older than Dogu. Neither Diari-lan’Bukali nor Tugu-lan’ Yemusa became paramount chief. There is then a considerable chronological jump until we get to Naa Yakubu and his offspring. Alhaji says that most of the dance appellations performed today date from this time until the present. In other words, Naa Yakubu marks the beginning of the period of Dagomba history that still is actively in play in the lives of Dagomba people.
Naa Yakubu (Nantoo Nimdi) is the progenitor of the people who became Paramount Chiefs after him. Among the sons of Naa Yakubu (Nantoo Nimdi) are Naa Abudu (Nagbiegu) followed by Naa Andani (Naani Goo). Naa Alhassan (Tampima Dundong and Zim Taai Kulga) is the son of Naa Abudu. The grandson of Naa Alhassan is Naa Abudu-bla (Sangmari Gong). Of the praise name dances for Paramount Chiefs presented here, the chronological order is:
Naa Yakubu (Nantoo Nimdi), Naa Abudu (Nagbiegu), Naa Andani (Naani Goo), Naa Alaasani (Tampima Dundong, Zim Taai Kulga), and Naa Abudu-bla (Sangmari Gong)
The other praise name dances in the collection are for chiefs who did not become Yaa Naa, that is, they are important regional chiefs or officials in the palace of the Paramount Chief. In chronological order, Kar-naa Bukali (Zambalantong), a grandson of Naa Yakubu, comes first. Although Savelugu-naa Bukali (Dambobugo) is actually a son of Naa Yakubu, Alhaji places Zambalantong before Dambobugo because Kar-naa Bukali became chief before Savelugu Bukali. Kar-naa Ziblim (Jerigu N-Dari O Salima) and Mba Dugu Sheni (Jenkuno) lived during the reign of Naa Abudu Satan, son of Naa Alaasani. Summarizing:
Kar-naa Bukali (Zambalantong), Savelugu-naa Bukali (Dambobugo), Kar-naa Ziblim (Jerigu N-Dari O Salima), and Mba Dugu Sheni (Jenkuno).